Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/346

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hailing from the polar seas and with the same stretch of wings as our Great Black-Back. In really severe, weather they may appear in some numbers, but there are few adults amongst them, the majority being young birds in spotted plumage.

But the braw north-easter does not always whistle even on this exposed coast. At the very end of the month comes a day of calm sea and cloudless sky. Out in the bay the glass shows us diver after diver and party after party of ducks resting at ease on the slow-heaving oily swell. The ducks in such weather are hopelessly unapproachable; not so the divers, which often swim close inshore, turning to dive through an advancing wave just before it breaks. Black-headed Gulls, playing about the tide-edge, descend with sudden swoop, just touching the water with their feet. A Cormorant flaps along the surface splashing like a coot, while others sit in solemn conclave on a rocky stack. Curlew, wild and wary as always, feed upon the outer skerries until the rising tide moves them, and a heron, which has remained until knee-deep, at last has to flap away. Half-a-dozen Oyster-catchers stand upon a flat reef in the wash of the tide; their orange bills seem to flame against the dark background of weed and rock. The glass shows that at times they rest on one leg with the bill tucked into the feathers of the back, in attitudes and movements extremely stork-like. With them, moving briskly about amongst